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From B.F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior, Chapter 1:  “A Functional Analysis of Verbal Behavior.”


Men act on the world, and change it, and are changed in turn by the consequences of their action. Certain processes, which the human organism shares with other species, alter behavior so that it achieves a safer and more useful interchange with a particular environment.  When appropriate behavior has been established, its consequences work through similar processes to keep it in force.  If by chance the new environment changes, old forms of behavior disappear, while new consequences build new forms.  (p. 1)


Skinner, B.F. (1957). Verbal behavior.  New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.